My head was spinning with everything that was going on. A few hours ago, I would have just sent a warning over the link and the whole Pack would have converged on us. Now? I didn’t even know where they were. Gabriel said they were going on a Pack run, we were near the Superior National Forest, there were hundreds of square miles around they could be in.
I picked up the stale scents and headed northwest. I got to the top of a rise, pausing to lift my head and send out a distress howl. It was old fashioned, really something you learned because you might need to communicate between Packs. I listened for a bit and heard nothing in response. I kept running.
I stopped again after another five miles of hard running and howled. This time, I got a response and headed that way. A few minutes later, I could see them, and I just about collapsed in relief. I shifted as Kushiel, Phanuel and Puriel ran up and shifted. “I need help, guys. Mitch is back at Adam’s house, he’s got Alan, Alice and Meghan hostage. He said he’s going to kill them if we don’t give him Eve.”
“Fuck,” Kushiel said. His eyes unfocused, he was linking.
“I lost the Pack link,” I said.
“We all did,” Phanuel said. “Alpha influence is gone, there aren’t Alpha commands on our wolves anymore. It’s like the Pack just disappeared and made us all lone wolves.” I looked at Kushiel. “He still has the sibling link with his brother, we left him back with Gabriel and the rest.”
“How did it happen?”
“We don’t know, but it happened when Adam and Eve mated.” I smiled, that meant the curse was broken and my vow to protect her was complete; I could make a life with Meghan, if I could just keep her alive.
“Gabriel says the two are still tied together, they may not detach for an hour or two. Then they have a hard hour of running to get back to the house.”
“What did he say to do?”
“Save them,” he said like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“OK, we won’t have a link to coordinate. He’s holding them in front of the house, so you guys sneak around behind.”
“Attack from the sides?” Phanuel looked confused, it was a long house.
“Get on the roof, he won’t expect that. I’ll work him back to where you can jump.” We shifted and ran hard back towards the house. It was going to be close. I pushed forward faster, my body at its limit, knowing I only had one chance to save my love or Adam’s loved ones.
I roared into the driveway, skidding to a stop as I killed the engine and put the kickstand down. I turned and helped Mia off; she winced as her leg went over the seat, I’d hurt her but I had no time. I jumped off, running towards the door. “EVE!!!”
Meghan came to the door. “She’s not here, Snake. Go get your woman, there’s no crisis here and she’s limping.”
I turned back to Mia, scooping her into my arms and carrying her up onto the porch. I set her on the chair by the door on the wide deck, taking a moment to make sure she was comfortable. “I’m sorry, my Mouse,” I said as I held her hand. “I know that was a hard ride for you.”
“I’ll live, now sit with me,” she said. I picked her up and sat down, placing her gently on my lap. Alan came out with a few glasses of lemonade, Alice right behind him. He handed us the drinks, then the three of them sat in the chairs. I could see Alice was still shaking, and Meghan had an ice pack on her cheek. “I’m Mia Taylor, I’m Snake’s little Mouse,” she said. “I know Doc Meghan already, so you must be Alan and Alice, Adam’s brother and his wife.”
“We are,” Alan said as he pulled his wife into his side. “I’m sorry, we’ve had a rough morning.” He described how Mitchell had shown up this morning after Adam and Eve left together, taking them hostage and threatening them and Meghan. Meghan picked up the rest of the story, ending with the coroner leaving.
“I saw that as I came in, I’ve only been that scared a couple times in my life,” I said. “So Eve is all right?”
“I have no idea,” Alan said. “Last night Adam was having a rough night, he was feverish and the leg was infected. The pull was obviously stronger, Eve couldn’t stay away, she was sleeping outside his window. I brought her inside, and she stayed with him in wolf form. They left together this morning. Whatever problem they had, they must be working through.”
“And the Knights?”
“Went with them. I saw a few of them last night, they were surrounding the house but trying to give them privacy to be together.”
I leaned back in the chair, relieved that she was all right and with her mate. “Gabriel will keep her safe,” I told Mia.
“I’m glad, but what does wolf form mean?” She looked at me like we were teasing her.
Oh shit. In all the excitement, I’d completely forgotten that I hadn’t told her about werewolves yet. I guess this was going to test her commitment to me. “She doesn’t know?” I looked at Alan and shook my head.
“It’s my fault,” I said. “Mia, I love you and I didn’t mean to keep things from you, it’s just that there are secrets we don’t reveal to those not in the Club,” I said.
“And wolf form is a Club thing? What are we talking here, Twilight shit? You have vampires and the Knights are werewolves?”
Alan laughed. “It’s nothing like that, really.”
“He’s right,” I said. “I’ve never seen a vampire, not even a sparkly one. Werewolves are real, though.”
“YOU’RE A WEREWOLF?”
She started to move off my lap, but I held her tight. “No, I’m human, just like you. So is Alice. Alan, he used to be a werewolf, but he killed his wolf when he decided to marry Alice and settle down. Eve… my daughter, my adopted daughter, she is a werewolf, as is Adam.” We had time; it took two more glasses of lemonade each before I finished the story of how we got to where we are now.
“So to summarize, Eve has been the only female werewolf for a decade or so, the males are in decline, and Eve mating Adam breaks the curse that was killing all the women when they were pregnant?” I nodded and kissed her. “Holy shit, that’s some curse.”
“You can’t imagine how it was,” Meghan said. “Vivian tried so hard, she lost so many mothers and their children. Eve was the second baby she saved, and the only one to grow up. Jessica was her best friend, her assistant. She gave everything she had to try and stop this.”
I looked up when I saw movement in the woods, recognizing Abaddon I called out to him. “It’s over, Abaddon,” I said.
Meghan didn’t wait, she ran off the porch and grabbed his clothes out of his saddlebags. She ran into his arms, kissing him as he struggled to get dressed. “Abaddon,” she said in between kisses. “I love you.”
He set her down, his hand moving up to her cheek. I could see his left hand fisting up with his anger, but she pulled him into a hug. His nose buried in her hair, he took a couple deep breaths before he calmed down. “He hurt you?”
“I’ll be fine,” she said. “Come on, I’ll fill you in on what happened.”
He looked at the roof above us before shouting. “PHANIEL! PURIEL! Get dressed and get down here!” I heard footsteps above us, and a few minutes later we were all sitting together. They told us about how the Pack link had disappeared when the two mated, and I couldn’t understand why.
I looked at Meghan, who was sitting in Abaddon’s lap, his arms around her waist. “When did this happen?”
“I’ve crushed on him forever, but he never told me how he felt until we were together this week,” she said. “Now that his vow to Eve is fulfilled, we’re going to see where our relationship can go.”
“I’m happy for you, I really am,” I said as I tipped my glass in their direction. “Hammer? I think you need a plan for telling him.”
Mia looked at me quizzically. “Hammer is her father, she’s grown up in the Club and Abaddon had been around her since she was a girl. I don’t know how he’s going to take a man of his advanced age dating his little girl.”
Meghan just laughed. “I’ll tell Mom, once she’s on our side he doesn’t have a chance.” We talked for another half hour.
I heard the thunder of paws, and looked up with everyone else to see a pack of huge wolves coming running at full speed into the yard. I set Mia down on the chair, standing in front of her as they lined up. “Mia, if you don’t want to see a whole lot of naked, you might want to close your eyes,” I told her.
She looked at Meghan. “I don’t care, I’ve grown up around them, they’re like family to me,” Meghan said. She went to the wooden box on the porch and opened the lid, pulling out a stack of shorts and shirts. The men shifted as she walked down the stairs. “Thanks for showing up, boys, but we handled it already. Mitchell is dead.” She started tossing the shorts to the guys so Mia wouldn’t be so nervous; the rest of us had gotten used to it.
“Who is she?” Gabriel pointed at Mia.
“She’s mine,” I said. “Where is Eve?”
I saw a flash of white fur as Eve broke from the woods, a handsome wolf running with her. She shifted mid-leap, and I barely had time to set myself as she crashed into me. “DADDY!”
I spun her around in my arms before setting her down. “Hi baby,” I said as I kissed her forehead. I touched the still-healing bite mark on her neck. “Are you happy?”
“Very much,” she said.
Adam had pulled on a pair of shorts and walked up to her, pulling one of his Vikings jerseys over her shoulders. “I’ll take good care of her, Dad. We worked things out.”
I pulled him into a hug. “Congratulations, and welcome to the family,” I said. “We should go back to the Cities soon, so you can meet her Grandparents and the rest of our Club.”
“Can we?” Eve was pretty excited. “I didn’t even ask, do you ride?”
“Of course, love. Up here we get more snowmobile than motorcycle riding time, but I’ve ridden since I was sixteen.”
“Good, because I need a ride back.” She kissed him, pulling him in tight as they molded to each other.
“Hey, enough of that for now,” Gabriel said. “Don’t make us throw you in the lake again.”
She pulled away and blushed. “Lake?” My eyebrow was raised as I stared her down.
“Don’t worry about it Dad, it’s wolf stuff.”
I looked over at Gabriel. “We needed to cool those two down a little so we could get back here quickly.”
“We didn’t have a garden hose?”
Eve buried her face in Adam’s chest, and I glared at Adam when I put it together in my mind. “Wouldn’t be a problem if I had him neutered,” I whispered.
“No grandchildren then,” she whispered back.
She looked up and noticed the beautiful woman who had walked up to me, putting her arm around my waist. I smiled and pulled Mia to my side. “Eve, Adam, this is Mia. We met a few days ago on the road and we’ve become rather close in a short period of time.”
Eve’s eyes bugged out. “You’re dating?”
“Nope. I found her and I’m not letting her go.”
Mia moved forward and embraced her. “I understand congratulations are in order for your, um, mating?”
“He just told you, didn’t he,” she said as she looked at me. “Yes, it’s like a marriage except it really is until death.”
“I have a lot to learn, but I kind of like that idea,” she said. “Your Dad is a wonderful man, I hope we become close as we get to know each other.”
Alice came up towards us. “Snake, I don’t know what the plan is, but I don’t have the food in the house to feed this many werewolves.” She looked at the two dozen big men. “I can’t imagine how much food these guys eat, Adam eats as much as we do combined!”
“That wouldn’t be fair to you for us to impose,” Gabriel said. “Abaddon, there’s got to be a place near here we can take this group to eat.”
“Betty’s Pies has enough room, it’s not that far away,” I said. “We always stop there.”
“I could go for pie,” Alan said with a smile.
“All right, I guess we ride,” I said. “How far away are your bikes?”
“Back at the old Pack House,” he said. “We’ll run there and meet you at the end of the driveway.” I thought about just meeting them at Betty’s, but he was right- they still should be protected. Since there was no Pack bond, they had to be close, so we may as well ride like a Club.
The clothes were collected, and Mia watched in fascination as the men shifted back to their wolves. “You’ve taken this well,” I told her as I hugged her gently.
“It’s cool as hell,” I said. “Did you ever wish you could be one?”
“All the time,” I said. “Our DNA isn’t compatible, there is no changing from human to werewolf, only killing your wolf part so you can seem to be more human.” We talked for a while longer as the others changed into riding clothes.
An hour and a half later, we were having a great time eating burgers at Betty’s. Mia tried their Pie Shake, where an entire slice of pie gets blended into a milkshake. It was interesting, but I’d rather have it separate. Since they had about three dozen flavors, most of us had two or three, and there was a lot of passing and tasting going on at our end.
“What happens now, Gabriel?” I looked down the table at his men. “I mean, Eve’s mated, the curse is broken, and you aren’t Alpha and you don’t have a Pack anymore. Where do you go from here?”
“I don’t know, Snake.” He looked older than I’d ever seen him. “I’ve devoted my entire adult life to serving Luna, to carrying out what she charged me with, and now I have nothing and no idea what to do next.”
I put my hand on his shoulder. “We’ll figure it out. You’re our friends, all of you. Let’s get back to the Clubhouse and talk to Viper. He’ll know what to do.”
“He will. Now Mia, how’d you get the nickname Mouse?”